Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Warren Ellis » GUEST INFORMANT: Laurie Penny:

You’ll have gathered by now that I hold no truck with the notion of ‘objective’ reporting – the idea that there is any such thing in a world where Fox News and the Daily Mail are considered serious press outlets seems to me too ridiculous to seriously countenance. To my mind the best one can ever do as a writer is be honest about your background and partialities and try to understand how they affect your outlook, to do violence to your own cliches, to practice compassion over caricature.

That’s what I’ve tried to do, whilst learning on the job, where practical skills – how to take quotes properly, how to wriggle around libel laws – count for no more or less than emotional skills, like scoring out a line between propaganda and cowardice that you can walk along in good conscience and then, whatever the insults and death threats and character assassinations thrown at you from either side, continuing to put one goddamned foot in front of the other. The best journalists I know have found a way to walk their own line. But for some of us that postion comes with a cost. My friend Natasha Lennard lost her job as a stringer at the New York times simply for being honest about her political affiliations, and responded bravely by declaring that she had no interest in producing that sort of objective journalism anyway.